Sometimes it is hard to remember that dynasty teams are built for BOTH in the short term and long term. Oftentimes owners will either neglect one aspect or another. Another trap owners fall into is the what have you done for me lately mindset. Some owners tend to sour quickly on players who suffer through an injury-plagued season. This type of mindset can provide a buying opportunity for the savvy dynasty player. If you strike while the iron is cold so to speak, you can get a great value on players who were worth far more at the beginning of the season. Without further ado, let us take a look at a couple of players from each position whose value has been altered by injuries in the 2019 season.
Matt Stafford – Lions QB Matt Stafford was on pace to have one of the best years of his career in 2019 before being felled by a fractured back. It is always a tough thing to suggest buying a QB in dynasty. Unless you are playing in a Super-Flex league, QB is one of the most replaceable positions there is. There will always be 32 starting QB’s in your league and with the way the NFL is trending, nearly every QB scores a decent amount of points. No matter what type of league format you are playing in Matt Stafford is a player to check in on. He is no longer part of the up and coming group, and along with the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson has transitioned into the prime age group. Stafford struggled in his first season under Matt Patricia putting up his worst statistical season since his rookie campaign. You can see his numbers below.
However, despite putting up poor numbers in 2018, Stafford showed a remarkable turnaround this past season. Over only have the season, Stafford exploded and was on pace to challenge his best statistical season ever. The injury, and loss of the second half of the season, has caused many owners to sour further on the former Georgia Bulldog. No matter the perception, there is a lot to like here. Stafford is still only 32 at the start of the 2020 campaign, he has an up and coming cast of weapons highlighted by the likes of Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson, and Kerryon Johnson. The return of a healthy Marvin Jones also bodes well for Stafford’s outlook. Do yourself a favor and if you are in need of a QB check in on the Stafford owner. You will likely get a discount.
Cam Newton – Cam Newton is one of the most divisive players in all of dynasty. Some players love him and others detest the former Auburn Tiger. His unconventional style and penchant for injuries over the past couple of seasons have led many to jump ship on the former MVP. One thing is for certain, love him or hate him, Cam Newton has won many dynasty owners championships during his magical run in the league. You can see from his career stats below that the man built like a linebacker has enjoyed an equal amount of passing and rushing success in the league.
Going into the 2020 season Cam Newton will have had nearly an entire year to rest and heal his body. Whether with the Panthers or someone else, Cam will go into next season the healthiest he has been in several seasons. Newton is the type of player who can win you games on his own. If he finds himself in the right situation, he can be the type of player to carry you to a dynasty championship. On the heels of an injury robbed season Cam can be had for the cheapest price of his career. I would not hesitate to make offers for him in Super-Flex leagues and would certainly consider looking into the former MVP in single QB leagues as well. He is simply too good to forget about.
David Johnson – Once looked upon as a no-brainer 1st round start-up pick, Johnson has tumbled down the rankings after a series of injuries and ineffective play. I am honestly at a loss when attempting to explain his precipitous dropoff in production. Unlike Todd Gurley or other RBs, you cannot point to a lower-body injury and say well he lost some of his explosiveness with that ligament. Sure the team around him has gotten worse over his time in the desert but last season the excuses became much harder to maintain. Both Chase Edmonds and Kenyan Drake ran circles around one of the highest-paid RBs in the league. In case you forgot, you can see the type of dual-threat David Johnson has been in the league by his stats below.
I can only come up with two logical explanations for what has happened to David Johnson. The first scenario is that he was suffering through an injury that the team simply was not honest about the last couple of years. This would explain the lack of production and the player’s mum status on his ineffectiveness. The second and more troubling idea would be that he has simply quit on the Cardinals after getting his big payday. No matter what the issue, David Johnson’s value is at an all-time low. It might be worth inquiring with his current owner as to what the price is to acquire the former All-Pro RB. Many dynasty owners are in full-blown panic mode when it comes to Johnson. If you can acquire him for a significant enough discount the juice might just be worth the squeeze.
Kerryon Johnson – The Detroit Lions suffered major injuries at nearly every offensive skill position during the 2019 season. Outside of their QB, there was no injury more significant than Kerryon Johnson. The 2nd year back was set up for a huge season from a volume standpoint. He began the campaign well before suffering a significant knee injury and being placed on IR following week 7. Johnson has been a favorite of the dynasty community since being selected in the 2nd round just a few short years ago. You can see from his stats below that he has teased his owners with his talent ever since.
Now Detroit may look to add some talent to supplement/compete with Johnson. However, the coaching staff and front office both seem pleased with the work of Bo Scarborough late in the year. From a fantasy standpoint, Bo would be about as good a compliment as dynasty owners could want. He is a one-dimensional thumper who shouldn’t have any effect on Kerryon’s overall game. The one area he could be a problem would be as a TD vulture. No matter the risk, Johnson still offers massive upside and coming off of back to back injury-plagued seasons now is the time to buy if you’re a believer.
Adam Thielen – The former Pro-Bowl Vikings WR has fallen out of favor with some in the dynasty community after an injury plagues 2019. Another strike some in the dynasty community will have against Thielen is his age. The perennial WR1 will turn 30 this August right before the start of the season. Despite these warts, you can see from his numbers below that Thielen was on his way to yet another fine season before suffering a significant hamstring injury at the beginning of week 8.
Unlike some of these players, Thielen was able to come back in 2019. He will be available for the Vikings playoff push. There will be no lengthy rehab or time spent away from the team. As a matter of fact, Thielen dropped a quiet 7/129/0 stat line on the Saints secondary in the first round of the playoffs. While everybody drooled over DK Metcalf, Thielen was quietly dismissed. Many owners are age averse but you will notice that many WRs across the league are succeeding well into their 30s. Thielen just signed a 4 year 64 Million dollar extension this past spring. With plenty of guaranteed money and time left on the deal, Adam will be a featured part of the offense for the next couple of years. He will be a premium buy for teams in win-now mode looking to score a cheaper vet WR to bolster their championship rosters.
Alshon Jeffrey – The Eagles WR1 has been plagued by a series of injuries throughout his career. As a matter of fact, he has not been able to make it through a full 16 game schedule since 2017 and even that year he was plagued by soft tissue injuries which limited his effectiveness in several games. You can see his career numbers below.
Now while Alshon Jeffery can no longer be counted on to be a WR1 for your fantasy team, that does not mean he has no value. The cost of acquiring the Eagles de facto number 1 is at an all-time low. While his dynasty value is low his value to his NFL team is not. Due to several cap manipulations performed by GM Howie Roseman, Alshon Jeffery has a fully guaranteed 2020 salary of 12.75 million dollars. At that price, he will be back with the team and he will have a significant role. I consider Alshon a very nice depth buy for teams attempting to stock up for a championship run. You can do far worse on a bye week fill-in or WR3.
TJ Hockenson – One of the highest-graded prospects in recent memory. Hock struggled through an injury-plagued rookie season that saw both he and his QB miss large chunks of the playing time. As a result, his numbers do not reflect the ultra-high upside he displayed immediately out the gates. Following a monster first game, it was all downhill as you can see from his numbers below.
Hockenson finished behind both Noah Fant and Dawson Knox from a statistical standpoint in their rookie seasons. He will still likely not come cheap but that is a relative figure. Coming out of Iowa T.J. checked all the boxes you look for in a dynasty TE. Many owners are simply not patient enough to allow their TE’s to develop. If any of his owners are dissatisfied with his meager rookie output I highly recommend you attempt to acquire him for the long game.
Evan Engram – After putting up one of the best rookie seasons ever for a TE, young Evan Engram has struggled through a series of ailments the past two seasons. The injury parade culminated in a painful LisFranc injury this past year. The injury was not a full tear but has required off-season surgery to correct the issue. However, before going out early in the season Engram once again showed the elite athleticism that saw him destroy the NFL combine. You can see his career numbers below.
Some of your league mates may be scared off by the LisFranc surgery. This issue has led to years worth of problems for players like Greg Olsen. I would recommend you test your fellow owners to see if any of them are worried about the long term ramifications of Engram’s foot issues. At a position, with very few top-end players there are precious few who possess the type of athletic upside of Evan Engram.
It is always the best practice for dynasty owners to do their due diligence when constructing their teams. Oftentimes injuries provide an opportunity to buy low on players other owners are scared of. These are just a few of the players who saw their 2019 campaigns marred by injuries that brought down their dynasty values. While these are the players I am most intrigued by, they are far from the only ones. Do yourself a favor and check with your fellow owners. Perhaps you can get a deal on other players like Darrius Guice, JuJu Smith-Schuster, or any number of other players. You never know unless you ask.
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